I don’t often feel the hair on the back of my neck rise as I listen to the radio driving into work in the morning. But yesterday morning that is exactly what happened. On the Today programme on Radio 4 there was a feature on current trends in funeral music. Apparently, in England and Wales at least, more people are requesting secular music at funerals than request hymns.
The most popular choice is the Frank Sinatra standard My Way. I found that pretty depressing for a start. Given the general state of our nation those combined ‘My Ways’ can hardly be recommended. If we turn to the Bible for guidance on this matter we find in the book of Proverbs that, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov 14v12). We also read in the book of Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55vs8,9).
But the option that made the hair stand up on my neck was the fact that some have chosen to play a track by the Australian Rock/Blues outfit AC/DC called Highway to Hell. I can only assume that this has been done out of some macabre form of bravado or a twisted sense of humour. Those many people who regard the Lord Jesus as ‘a good man’ or ‘a wise teacher’ (but nothing more than that) and love to quote their favourite parts of the sermon on the mount frequently choose to forget that He spoke more about Hell than anyone else in the Bible. He spoke of a place of punishment, “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 5v44). In the book of Revelation we read “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 10v15). Hell is no joking matter!
But Hell was never intended to be the eternal destination for men and women. The Bible tells us that it was prepared for the Devil and his angels, that is those celestial beings who rebelled against God. Satan effectively chose to do things ‘his way’ and rejected the authority of the transcendental God. Those who will find themselves in Hell are those who have equally chosen to do things their own way. Far better to listen to the words of the Lords Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14v6).